What are your favorite foods? If someone were to ask me, I’d have to say Mexican. My wife Nanci makes a killer burrito with the works, and sour cream enchiladas. I'm also a fan of Nanci's steak salad, crispy chicken salad, beef stew and cornbread muffins, chili with cheddar cheese and onions and...the occasional pizza too.
The person who’s eaten the widest variety of meals on Earth still hasn’t tasted countless others. How many special dishes will you discover on the New Earth? As yet, you may not have tasted your favorite meal—and if you have, it didn’t taste as good as it will there. (After all, our resurrected bodies will have resurrected taste buds!) The best meals you’ll ever eat are all still ahead of you on the New Earth.
One wonderful thing about Heaven is that we’ll be able to enjoy such amazing food without having to battle sin. There will be no gluttony and eating disorders, no indigestion, no high or low blood sugars, which is good news to an insulin-dependent diabetic like me.
However, not all Christians believe that we will eat and drink in Heaven. Some people cite Romans 14:17: “The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” But this passage isn’t about the afterlife. Paul is speaking about our walk with God and the importance of not making other people stumble over what we eat and drink.
Before the resurrection, in the present Heaven, it seems unlikely we could eat. However, there is the tree of life, from which God says overcomers may eat (Revelation 2:7). The fact that a tree with possibly edible fruit is currently located in the intermediate Heaven at least raises the question of whether people can eat there now. But still, since it’s pre-resurrection, it seems likely there’s no eating in the present Heaven.
Strangely, however, many people also believe we won’t eat or drink in the eternal Heaven, which is centered on the New Earth. They assume the biblical language about eating and drinking and banquets is figurative and that we will eat only “in a spiritual sense.” But why is there a need to look for a spiritual sense when resurrected people in actual bodies will live on a resurrected Earth? Christoplatonism lurks behind this understanding.
The resurrected Jesus invited His disciples, “Come and have breakfast.” He prepared His disciples a meal and then ate bread and fish with them (John 21:4-14). He proved that resurrection bodies are capable of eating food, real food. Christ could have abstained from eating. The fact that He didn’t is a powerful statement about the nature of His resurrection body, and by implication, ours, since Christ “will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body” (Philippians 3:21).
Other passages indicate that we’ll eat at feasts with Christ in an earthly kingdom. Jesus said to His disciples, “I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes” (Luke 22:18). On another occasion Jesus said, “Many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 8:11). Where will the kingdom of God come? To Earth. Where will God’s Kingdom reach its ultimate and eternal state? On the New Earth.
An angel in Heaven said to John, “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” (Revelation 19:9). What do people do at any supper—especially a wedding supper? Eat and drink, talk, tell stories, celebrate, laugh, and have dessert. Wedding feasts in the Middle East often lasted a full week. When we attend the wedding supper of the Lamb, we won’t be guests—we’ll be the bride!
It’s true Scripture contains many figures of speech. But it’s incorrect to assume that because some figures of speech are used to describe Heaven, all that the Bible says about Heaven therefore is figurative. When we’re told we’ll have resurrection bodies like Christ’s and that He ate in His resurrection body, why should we assume He was speaking figuratively when He refers to tables, banquets, and eating and drinking in His Kingdom?
We’re commanded, “Glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20, NKJV). What will we do for eternity? Glorify God in our bodies. Scripture tells us, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). What will we do for eternity? Eat, drink, and do all to the glory of God.
If it seems trivial or unspiritual to anticipate such things, remember that it’s God who promises that on the New Earth we will sit at tables, at banquets and feasts, and enjoy the finest foods and drinks. And to top it off, our Father promises that He Himself will prepare for us the finest foods:
In Jerusalem, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will spread a wonderful feast for all the people of the world. It will be a delicious banquet with clear, well-aged wine and choice meat (Isaiah 25:6).
Of course, the best part about everything on the New Earth will be living daily in the presence of Jesus. But when He talks to us about feasts and delicious banquets and choice foods, don’t you think He wants us to look forward to eating at His table?
photo credit: Serenae via photopin cc, cropped
Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over sixty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries.